John Waters

Interview by
Wolfgang Tillmans
Photography by
Ryan McGinley


I first met John Waters nine years ago when I took his portrait for index magazine. John was sitting on his sofa next to a pillow which was embroidered with a picture of an electric chair. Asked where that pillow was from he said, ‘My mother made it for me. At some point she had to tell herself, “I either go along with my son and his work or I become constantly upset and unhappy,” so she went along and now sometimes makes these things for me.’ John’s latest slice of twisted life, A Dirty Shame, hits the cinemas in Europe this summer. BUTT usually avoids talking to people around the time of their new releases, films, books, shows, etc. But for John, in his 40th year of groundbreaking filmmaking, it was time to make an exception. We didn’t manage to meet ‘in the flesh,’ so we spoke over the phone.

Wolfgang: Hey John, this is Wolfgang.
John: Hey Wolfgang, how are you?
I’m fine.
Good. Finally we worked this out. I really wanted to do it with you. I’m really a fan of the magazine. I’ve had a subscription to the magazine for a long time. And I’m a fan of yours. I can’t think of a better person to do it with… over the phone.
Exactly. Like it’s usually the worst thing over the phone.
Well phone sex is something I’d never do for fear that someone was recording it. I have done it before in my life. But it’s the kind of thing that today I’d be very hesitant about. Because you can never have healthy phone sex. Who has phone sex and then says, “One day we are going to fall in love and grow old together”? It’s usually some kind of verbal abuse or something. It’s not the greatest thing to be quoted on. And I always love the idea of those phone lines. A lot of actors do it. I think that it would be fun for the day to be an actor working on a sex line. I guess a good performance makes the person stay on the line longer until they come. Because the point is to keep charging their credit card for the time. So my goal would be to get someone right to the point of coming and then keep stringing them until they’re wracked with pain. Blue balls are really what phone sex operators are working towards.
Are there really a lot of lines with real people on the end, because I thought most of it was pre-recorded?
No, on a lot of them you talk to real person. A lot of them have a private person doing it and they say, “Have a credit card ready.” My favorite ad ever, I think it was in Frontiers or one of the gay magazines in L.A., and it ran for weeks and weeks, it was a classified ad. It said, “Every night at 10 p.m., here’s my address, my door’s unlocked. Fuck me.”
Yes. I would think a burglar would like to be reading that too. But it would be hard to call the police and say, “I had this ad in the paper and someone came in…”
You’ve liked the phone in your films as well. Like Kathleen Turner in Serial Mom.
When she says, “Is this the Cocksucker residence?” I think Mink says that to Kathleen or something or back and forth. Well you know a lot of people have that on their answering machine now. Boy George did. He answers the phone and says, “Cocksucker residence.” Really, the very first time I called Boy George I had no idea about that and I was so shocked. I was really flattered. I’m trying to think if anyone has phone sex in A Dirty Shame. I think that’s too normal for A Dirty Shame.
I was quite impressed with the accumulation of perversions.
Were any of them new to you?
Well, I didn’t know that women could lift Evian bottles with their pussies.
Tracy Ullman really did. She plays a sex addict, and there’s a scene where she’s doing the Hokey Pokey. And in front of her horrified mother and husband she jumps into the ring and picks up the bottle. But you knew about sploshing? That’s an English perversion; the erotic urge to throw food in your loved one’s crotch. I don’t get it. I bet sploshing is a really healthy fetish. It’s safe: you can’t get AIDS from sitting on a pie. I wish I did like sploshing. The best sploshing magazine is from London. Have you ever sploshed? I don’t think I have. Or I didn’t know what it was when I did it. And when I did, it wasn’t sploshing only. That’s the thing about fetishists: they don’t want anything but that one specific act.
Any particular food as well?
When I looked through their magazine they seemed to prefer baked beans, which seems to be kind of fecal. It looks like shit. I don’t get it.
Do you think there’s a scat crossover scene with sploshing?
I think it’s cowardly scat. It’s making food be scat. Looking through their magazines, it’s more like some sort of humiliation. Because all the women — and I’ve never seen gay sploshing; it seems to be a hetero thing — all the pictures are of women dressed like your boss at a bank sitting on a pie or something. Or having baked beans dumped on her “dress-for-success” blouse. I think it’s revenge, humiliation or something on a woman who has power over you. I don’t have the sploshing urge. Even on my worst night I’ve never thought, “God, I need to splosh somebody.”
I must say I love your film. It’s fantastic.
Thank you.
It’s probably the most sexual mainstream film ever made.
Well, is it sexual? No one has real sex in the movie.
Well, the number of sexual references.
There’s plenty of sex education in the movie, with a lot of new terms in it, I hope.
I think “Let’s go sexing” was the most amazing one. Did you come up with it, or did you sample it from somewhere?
I came up with it. I thought it was a catchy little slogan — straight from the writer’s gills. It was part of the script. I don’t know if it’s caught on. I haven’t heard crowds of people shouting it outside my house in Manhattan.
What was your inspiration for the bears reference?
The bears? They are a huge movement in America.
And in London.
And they are the most mainstream. I did an interview with American Bear Magazine, about the movie. I’m for it. I’m certainly not going to draw the line at bears. But to me, aren’t all middle-aged heterosexual men bears? I don’t get it. My generation has to eroticize everything. We used to call it fat. Now it’s eroticized. Anyway, when I did the interview with American Bear Magazine, they were so serious. That’s the thing with every fetish that amazes me. How can you use the word “husbear” or “significant otter” and not smile?
Significant otter?
Yes. That’s dialogue from the movie and I got it from the Bear Handbook. They say that. And also they talk about coming out of a “second closet.” First admitting that you’re gay and then that you’re a bear. Well I’d advise that if you’re a bear, don’t tell your parents. Parents shouldn’t have to accept that. “Mom, Dad, sit down. I have something to tell you.” Imagine their nervous look. “I’m a bear,” you know; and they do that. I asked them when they interviewed me, are there bear tops? I’ve never met one. They all try and dress butch, but they seem kind of nelly to me, the bears I’ve seen. And he said, “Some are; yes,” without even laughing. I’m all for the bear movement, and the ones I know have a sense of humor. But their leaders are humor-impaired.
I love the idea of a cub. A junior bear.
Well, a cub is a chicken. A cub looks for an otter, someone who isn’t fat or hairy but will be. But some people say an otter is a skinny hairless person that bears fuck.
Is that connected to the whole daddy imagery in the American gay subculture?
Well, I guess bears are daddies.
That’s so amazing. In Europe the whole daddy imagery doesn’t exist. But when you come to America, it’s crazy.
What is it called in Europe? Old? Let me tell you, I’m at an age where I’m starting to attract people who want daddies, but I’d be mortified to be thought of as someone’s daddy. What I’ve learned is that with anybody who wants a daddy, it isn’t because they’ve had a good relationship with their daddy. It’s to punish their daddy, and you are the vessel. I guess I’m not against the idea of daddy fanatics, even though it’s not a good idea to get involved with one because as I said they have a fucked-up relationship with their daddy, not a good one. Otherwise they would date people age-appropriate, something I’m not very good at.
You’re not very good at dating age-appropriate people? You date people much younger or much older?
Well, not much younger, I’m not a pedophile. I used to say that you should never find people sexually attractive who are younger than your friends’ children. I’ve given up that rule. My friends are pretty old now.
How do you go about dating these…
Dating is not a word I usually use. I haven’t been to too many proms at my age. I have romantic friends I don’t sleep with. I have friends who aren’t romantic who I do sleep with. I think that all the different things you are supposed to want in one person, I’ve divided up, which is more successful for me, because I’m not sure there is that one person. I have absolutely no desire to live with somebody. I don’t want to be married.
Have you ever lived with somebody?
I have a very, very nice life as a single man. I’ve had long-term boyfriends and we’ve lived together in the summer, but I’m really bad at living with someone. You’ve never seen my house. Who could live in it but me? I could see someone saying, “I think I’ll hang this up.” No you won’t. And I can’t stand television. One relationship almost ended because of it. I can’t stand having a television on in my house. I don’t care if I’m wildly in love. If they watch television, it’s a deal breaker. I’ll make them wear earphones.
You don’t have TV?
I do. You need to for porn. And for when we’re at war, when war breaks out. When we’re bombing Iraq you have to watch. In fact I have televisions all over my house and all my artwork is taken from TV screens. But I never have it on just to watch it. I like to read. I’m not saying that to be elitist. I read. People are always asking me how I have so much time to read because I get one hundred magazines a month and I’m always buying books. I say you have to make a choice: you have to be single and you can’t watch television. And I made that choice.
Because those are the two single biggest time-consumers?
Well, they stop you from reading, definitely. Let’s put it this way, I’ve never had a boyfriend who liked to read that much.
I read the other day that you hate feel-good movies….
…but I make feel-good movies, I think. I do hate them, but I make them. All my movies are feel-good movies in a way. Even A Dirty Shame: it has a feel-good ending. All my movies are about people accepting themselves, and that’s feel-good to me. A Dirty Shame wasn’t a feel-good movie for my father. He gave me the best review of all. Afterwards he said, “It was really funny, but I hope I never have to see it again.” What else can your father say? Did my father need to know what a plate-job was? I don’t think so. I felt bad that he even needed to deal with it. Did my mother need to know about Dirt Lickers?
And you’re not exactly an unruly teenager who brings these things home.
They thought they had heard it all. And they should have heard it all at their age. They don’t need to know about adult babies. You know I found the most fascinating thing — you know I’m obsessed by the Michael Jackson trial.
I can imagine. You’re not watching it?
You can’t. There are no cameras in the courtroom. I do watch the reenactment. So I lied; I do watch that. You can only watch it for a little bit. It’s my favorite television show, even though I don’t always watch it. My favorite minor detail that the readers of BUTT might not have picked up worldwide, is that the Daily News had a article with Macaulay Culkin’s father where he denied that Macaulay had had sex with him and whatever… who knows… but he did have an amazing detail. One day he went over with Macaulay to Michael Jackson’s secret apartment, not Neverland but this little trick pad, and at one point there were real babies there sucking on their bottles and Michael Jackson had his own bottle and was there sucking on his bottle. So Michael Jackson is, on top of it all, an adult baby.
Well that’s what it sounds like to me. I’ve never laidd on the floor sucking on a baby bottle. That’s what babies do. So that’s amazing to me. On top of everything else, he’s an adult baby.
Do you think people will stay loyal to him?
Well, I don’t know. It’s a hard case. Because what is sex to Michael Jackson? All it is is taking out that limp polka-dot penis and dribbling a weak load somewhere. He’s not a top. To me, I don’t know if he’s guilty, but I taught in prison and had a lot of pedophiles in my class, and he certainly fits the profile of a child molester. Whether he did it, I don’t know. Personally I think he did do it, but I’m not on the jury, I haven’t heard everything. But it’s hard to root for him to be convicted because I feel he’ll die if he’s convicted. I think he’ll kill himself or OD. Even if he does go to jail, he’ll been in solitary confinement for the rest of his life. And imagine him without the wig and the makeup? He’s 47, God knows what he looks like. I’d like to see in a way. I’m drawn to it obsessively. And the other most interesting detail, besides the adult baby thing — a witness said it the other day, and I have a friend who knows Michael Jackson and told me this as well — is that in real life he has a completely different, more butch voice. He doesn’t talk like that. Isn’t that peculiar?
So it’s completely put on?
I guess. Maybe he has two personalities. I don’t know. I just bought a really great artwork by Gary Hume of Michael Jackson, have you seen that piece?
I’m waiting for its arrival.
Gary invited me to his studio before the works were shipped, but I couldn’t make it.
Well, it’s a print. It’s a great one. It’s really scary looking. One of Michael’s eyes looks like the CBS logo. But… adult babies, that’s the only fetish in my movie that I find creepy myself. I’m not going to fight for the rights of adult babies. I mean they have the right to be like that, but if I had a child who came home and said, “Mom, Dad, I’m an adult baby,” they’d be punished. But they’d like it, that’s the only problem. Adult babies like to be punished.
Did you ever meet Michael Jackson?
No. I’d be scared to. I’ve said so many things. I’m so obsessed by the case. I guess I don’t really want to meet him. Because guilty or innocent, I don’t think he’s funny. I bet he has a really bad art collection.
Well, considering what he bought in that Bashir documentary….
…and didn’t pay for. He shops like Divine. Divine used to do that, but the problem was, Divine didn’t have any money. Michael has.
Divine bought things and then never paid for them?
Divine bought things and then went to pick them up and never paid for them. He was about as responsible as Ike Turner.
Didn’t he make any money from his music?
Yes he did. And he made money from the movies. He had a small percentage of my movies; he had four percent of the profit. But that wasn’t that much. I didn’t really make money from the movies until those Hollywood movies. Because with those underground movies… you know they were midnight movies. No one gets rich from a midnight movies, except from Rocky Horror.
What did you think of Divine’s music?
Well I think he did that really before a lot of people, that techno sound. He did it really early. And I think it was a wonderful thing for him because he could make a living in a way that was independent from me, which was very important to him at the time. And I love some of the headlines he inspired while he was in London. In one of the tabloids, I forget which one, it said ”Echhh,” with his picture, and said, “You think Boy George is bad?” But certainly the music was good for his career.
Well, I loved the records at the time, and they still hold up so incredibly well. They are super popular everywhere in Europe. DJs still use them.
He certainly had more success with his music in the U.K. than in America. You all made him successful there.
Have you ever met Bobby Orlando? He sounds like a stupid fuck-up.
No. Who is he?
The guy who wrote all the songs and produced Divine.
No, I don’t know him.
He’s just this mystical figure who produced all this amazing stuff then disappeared and now he’s some born-again Christian or something.
Isn’t that a shame?
I tell you, all this Pope footage… I couldn’t even read about it. I think everything he said was fallible. I don’t think they think he was so infallible in Africa where people are dying of AIDS.
What is this thing? I think it started with Ronald Reagan when he died, there wasn’t a single dissenting voice. Even in a newspaper like the Guardian in England, there wasn’t a single bad thing written about him. And now the Pope died, and in all newspapers across the spectrum, no one criticized him at all.
The only negative review was by Michael Musto in the Village Voice and his sub-header was, “Why one sinner can’t cry for John Paul.” And I applaud somebody for doing that because it enraged me. Well, BUTT is a joyous magazine. So let’s not talk about war crimes.


Have you ever been confronted directly by Christian fundamentalists?
Never in my life. I’m a lost cause. Well, actually I was attacked by the Catholic Church this year, and it was amazing. They of course condemned the movie. They don’t call it condemning; they called it “Rated O for offensive,” which of course doesn’t have the same ring to it. But this other guy — I believe his name is William Donohue; he’s from the Catholic League and you can find it online — wrote his major editorial against me. He said, “John Waters was raised Catholic and he’s a homosexual, and we have to be careful because there are a lot of these in the woods these days.” And I’m thinking, you’re talking about my woods? You better watch out for your woods where there’s thousands of pedophiles fucking kids. Talk about woods to watch! You know, I couldn’t believe it. I never get mean letters. They never come to my movies. A Dirty Shame has a lot of religious stuff, but it’s like, if God invented sex, why couldn’t there be sex miracles? Aren’t we all looking for sex miracles? I am. Aren’t you? Every time we have sex, do you hope it will the best time ever? That you will levitate or that something explodes in the apartment. Or that somebody spontaneously combusts or flames break out? Surreal things happen when you have good sex. We can hope.
Incredible, yes.
I didn’t put anything in A Dirty Shame that was not fun sex, like fisting. That’s messy and bad for your health. I didn’t even include S&M, which looks silly these days. I believe that true S&M is fear of performance. Because if you can’t get it up you can just wear all that shit. I think it looks silly. S&M people can’t recruit, in the same way bikers can’t recruit young people. In Baltimore there’s this shop that has all those clothes, like Scorpio Rising-type stuff, and it has two totally different clienteles; hardcore bikers and leather queens. They go to the same store and both groups told me the same thing separately — they can’t find young people. Gay S&M has a hard time recruiting. Nobody wants to get whipped anymore. Nobody’s that guilty about it. No kid wants to wear chaps. Chaps are mortifyingly out of fashion. At the same time, the real bikers, the hardcore bikers, are all old men. There are no young ones. There are no cute ones. They all have potbellies. It’s a corny image. It’s a bad Easy Rider movie. No one wants that look anymore.
In Europe that got replaced with the skinhead look and other types of butch realness.
I’ve seen all Bruce LaBruce’s movies and I like them, but are there really gay skinheads? Well, I guess so, ’cause it’s what you photographed. I’ve seen a lot who I at least hoped were gay. In America, I’ve seen the equivalent. The cutest young gay people are white homeboys. The ones you would never think are gay…
Like Eminem.
He’s trade. But who knows.
I know. That’s sort of like here, there’s a club called Scally Ladz, for council-estate-chic fetishism with an inverted look on the gay theme. It’s like the tracksuit bottoms with the pop buttons.
Like they just robbed the convenience store. If I ever had a date and he showed up like we were going to rob a convenience store, it would be romantic. That would be a really romantic date, I think. If you rob the convenience store with someone and then have sex. That would be so much fun.
What would be turn-offs for you?
In my movie I have people who are into sandwiches, into threesomes. And I hate threesomes. I don’t want to be the lettuce in a sandwich. Because if I had a boyfriend, I’m not interested in finding someone else. I’m satisfied with one. Also, Dirt Queens. I’ve never licked the floor. I saw a guy in Hellfire once, back in the days before AIDS. It was a great, great club. It was straight and gay. Celebrities and famous people and ordinary people were having sex at the same time as talking about literature. And I saw a guy there lying on the floor, jerking off without coming, just licking the filthy floor of Hellfire for hours. And all he had on was a dirty, filthy torn pair of jockey shorts. I was shocked, I guess. I had never heard of that particular fetish. But I never got it out of my mind. I guess you use images later in life. I did some research to see what it was called — mysophilia or something. I did read a porn story in which a truck driver made a boy lick all the tires of his truck before he could blow him and that made me laugh. I thought, well you gotta do what you gotta do. So that’s what inspired my dirt licking.
How was the U.S. reaction to the film?
Ugh! Like all my movies, it does fine in cities and less fine the further away you get from New York or L.A. or San Francisco. I got every kind of review, some of the best and some of the worst. It’s not surprising. I always get every kind of review you can get. I’ve been doing this for forty years. I made my first movie in 1964. The only thing I really have to compete with is my past. Like every review talks about what I’ve done before. Hairspray or Pink Flamingos. And I’m proud to have that past, but who knows what kind of reviews you’d get if it was your first movie. I’m not complaining. That happens to everybody. That’s what you get for being lucky enough to live this long.
But is the American market enough for the film to break even?
Oh no. It has to be worldwide. This film was sold to distributors before I even made it. No movie can make money just in America. It has to play everywhere in the world. This week I’m going to France. I’ve done interviews in Turkey. My films come out in either video or theatrical in nearly every country in the world, which is usually okay. My films don’t cost that much. This one cost 7.1 million dollars.
That seems a lot of money. But it’s not a lot for a star cast and a million characters and tons of special effects. It wasn’t a simple little movie of two people sitting around. In America today, for an art film or a foreign film, and I’m an art film in every country including my own, basically theatrical is a loss leader for video. Nothing is successful on video unless you’ve had a theatrical release and people have heard of it. In America nothing is coming out on video, it’s all DVD. This movie was rated NC-17, which is a nightmare because nobody will release movies with this rating. Luckily my distributor did. I don’t think it deserved that rating. For me, it’s a joyous, funny movie about sex. It’s not even explicit in any way. That made it another big hurdle. So when it comes out on DVD, all these stores like Walmart and Blockbuster, where half the DVDs in America are sold, they will not carry NC-17 or unrated movies, so I had to do an R-rated version. The R-rated version is so ridiculous, and I had to cut so much out that we call it the Neuter Version. So that’s coming out too. The kind of censorship in America is liberal censorship. It’s scarier. It’s corporate censorship. I’m lucky that my distributor put this out because the MPA told me that there was nothing I could cut to get an R, they said it’s like a painting with a million brushstrokes, you can’t cut ten. It’s so ridiculous. I felt like giving them an upper-decker. Have you heard that one?
Shitting in the top tank of the toilet so nobody can find it. It’s turd harassment. Somebody told me about that.
I’ve never heard of that.
Me neither. It’s a good thing for young people to try on their enemies. It works. Turd terrorism.
I was just thinking about bad sex, because this is BUTT’s bad issue.
This is the bad issue? I didn’t know that. Should I have been insulted to have been asked?
No. Not at all.
I always say that, being famous, the one thing you lose is the right to have bad sex. I can’t go into a fuck bar with glory holes and look through and somebody sees me standing there. What are they going to say? It takes the fun out of it. The whole thing about bad sex, the appeal of it was being anonymous.
I don’t think that’s bad sex.
But that’s what psychiatrists and the law tells you is bad. Oh you mean, bad sex, like when you’ve been with somebody for eight years and you still have to do it? That’s my idea of bad sex.
That, or the bad encounters. What’s the worst thing that ever happened to you?
I’m not telling you about that one. I’m saving it for my book. I’m getting money for that one. There have been a couple of lulus. I’ll tell you my favorite one that made me laugh, and there was no sex. I went home with this guy — this was thirty years ago in Baltimore — who was a marine. All he wanted to do was model women’s underpants. And he was such a butch soldier. And he had such a collection. I was speechless. I put that in Desperate Living, where the cop does it. And I couldn’t believe my eyes and I couldn’t laugh because he was so serious. He said to me, “In Vietnam I wore these on the tanks. But people are so stupid and closed-minded I couldn’t tell anyone.” It was amazing to me. There was no sex involved. It was a little pitiful fashion show in a slum apartment. But he had spent all his money, all his wages, on Frederick’s of Hollywood catalogues. He would go in the other room and come out and model it for me. He’d change and stuff. It was like a Victoria’s Secret trunk show. I guess some would think it was bad sex. To me it was memorable. It inspired so many ideas. I always wonder what happened to him? I hope something good.
You know what I think is the worst turn-off? When you walk into somebody’s house and they have one of those awful CD racks.
CD racks?
Like when CDs were invented in the 80s and there was this problem of what to do with them and people designed these awful CD shelves that were these freestanding towers made out of fancy metal shapes.
I would think when you go into somebody’s house and they don’t have any books or anything. They might be a great one-night stand, who cares. But they would be a terrible boyfriend. But the question I’m always interested in is, could you fuck a racist if he was really cute?
It happened to me.
Yeah me too. You just change the subject. You can’t have a relationship, but…
That’s, like, really borderline. But it happens. First, you just don’t know. But then they talk rubbish.
I’m glad that we agree on that point. So, your worst sex night was a CD rack? Come on!
That’s not my worst sex night.
I’m going to think of that every time I see a CD rack. You should do a photo show of them.
It’s one of these stereotypical items that people buy to give their apartment a slightly creative touch. I can be a little bit fascist about interior design. When you go to people’s homes and you don’t like what you see and that becomes a turn-off.
I know. When you go in someone’s house and you think, my God, they have Erte prints!
I think that is really hard to bear actually. And do you have a thing about bad underwear? Or are you quite tolerant?
I think thong underwear is pretty repellent, unless you’re from Brazil or something. I think that spending too much time on sexy underwear for men…
…is extremely unsexy.
Right. Unsexy. You’d be mortified. Unless they wore it innocently, without any irony or thought.
That’s sexy. Like if their mother or ex-girlfriend bought it for them.
Like if they don’t know. And you can tell. Especially if it’s clean but old. It’d be really bad if they wore it for a first date.
And smells?
Smells? Do you mean smelly cocks? I’m not especially attracted to that. It’s not something I’m looking for on a date either. Sorry to disappoint. And I don’t like a lot of cologne either. I only wear one cologne and it’s called Odeur 53 by Comme des Garçons. The minute you put it on it disappears because the designer Rei Kawakubo doesn’t think men should wear cologne, which is really great. It smells kind of like insect repellent when you spray it on, but it completely disappears. So I wear it every day. There’s not one thing natural in it. It’s hilarious. It’s spelled O-d-e-u-r. And when I do interviews for the press, I always say, “By the way, for the credits I was wearing Odeur 53.” You know, how women’s fashion magazines always put the scent down in the credits? I like to say it to Newsweek, to someone who would never print it.
The only thing I wear sometimes, which I import from the United States, is Speedstick. The regular smell Speedstick.
But that leaves all that stuff. It comes off on your armpits doesn’t it? The stick itself, doesn’t it retain stray underarm hairs? Ewww… I like spray deodorant. The kind that ruins the ozone, but disappears.
I just like that it’s such a straight smell.
You like the spray of heterosexuals. That sounds like Scientology.
It’s the right type of cheap for me. Speedstick. It makes me happy. Whenever somebody gives me perfume….
No one has ever given me perfume in my life I don’t think. Maybe cologne. Ugh. I get it in gift bags a lot. Like, in goodie bags after parties. I always give it away, like, to my assistants.
I prefer the women’s goodie bags.
I don’t usually get the women’s. Well sometimes you get both. I have friends who are fully dressed in swag. Their pants are from David Letterman, their shirts are from Roseanne. I got Botox, I didn’t use it. I got a gift certificate to go try Botox. I thought it was like a drug dealer, giving the first shot for free so you could get hooked. I’d never have Botox. I could never sneer if I had Botox.
So you won’t use it?
No. I should maybe. I plan on looking like Lillian Hellman. I want to grow into her skin, right before she died. That was a look.
I just remembered something I wanted to ask you. Where did the idea for The Stomper come from in Polyester.
There was a real foot stomper in America and it came from that. There’ve been a lot of them. There’s one that used to sneak in and cut off women’s hair. There’s one I read about who used to sneak in and steal babies’ soiled diapers. Talk about mortifying when you get caught. So The Stomper actually struck many times. It’s based on a real person.
Do you read the National Enquirer and all those things.
I read them all. But I read all the highbrow magazines too. I’m a news junkie.
From Artforum to National Enquirer.
One of my books just came out again, and in the introduction, I list all 125 magazines I get. I guess I get everything from the London Review of Books to the National Enquirer. I don’t know. I get all of them. A special mailman comes with a big crate every day. Don’t you have any more sex questions?
Let’s see. What was your take on the German guy eating his lover?
Well he was topping from the bottom. The one who got eaten was a real top. You know what topping from the bottom means? You’re a bottom but you control everything that happens. So you’re really the top, psychologically. The one who got eaten, he had the most fun. It was his fantasy and he had to find somebody to do it. He was topping from the bottom and I’m sure he came as he slid down that guy’s throat. And the guy who ate him, I don’t know. It’s not my business. Did the person he ate have AIDS, was it safe or unsafe sex? I don’t know. Is cannibalism safe sex? Probably not. I’ll save that for the autumn of my years.
I think that’s bad sex.
For them it wasn’t. For them it was the best sex they ever had.
You’re right.

Originally published in BUTT 13